Developing Social Capital and Organizational Mapping in the Vista Unified School District

Legislation & Policy

(Albert Shanker Institute, August 19, 2015) —Devin Vodicka, superintendent of Vista Unified, a California school district serving over 22,000 students, recently wrote an article describing the process of developing, and mapping, human capital in his school district. Vista Unified was recently accepted into the League of Innovative Schools.

A summary of the article follows: The article describes the process of focusing on values that educators in the district established together: Respect, trust, and collaboration. Vodicka writes, “social capital refers to the benefits that emerge as resources and expertise are exchanged through relationships. The level of social capital of a group or system can be measured and analyzed through social network analysis, which includes the use of social maps called “sociograms,” to help visualize the patterns of interactions between people as well as a set of metrics to help quantify improvement.”

He further writes that. by reflecting on the patterns that are made clear with these network maps or sociograms, we can take a data-informed approach to refining and adjusting our communication and collaboration systems.

Based on research and experience, the improvement to the district’s focus on the relational aspects of their work is linked to the ability to draw on the collective wisdom of all Vista shareholders. One example, is that when it was clear that there was an absence of positive recognition in the environment, they added a “compliments” section to the beginning of each leadership team meeting to showcase excellence and effort. 

Read more here.

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